Whether it’s a blizzard, flood, or heatwave, extreme weather can be extremely tough on your home. Are you taking the right steps to protect it? While homeowner’s insurance covers some weather-related damage, it won’t cover everything. Even when damage is covered, it takes time for insurance claims to be processed.
When it comes to your home, preventing damage is always cheaper and easier than making repairs. These tips will help you protect your home from some of the most common types of extreme weather.
When heavy snow is in the forecast, you stock your pantry and get ready to hunker down. But do you think about how your home will fare? Between low temperatures and high snowfall, blizzards can do a number on your home. Here’s how to prevent it.
- Clean and inspect gutters before winter to prevent ice dams. The Chicago Tribune notes adding gutter guards can greatly reduce the debris that collects. If you decide to go that route, think about what kind of debris is typically in your gutters, like pine needles versus leaves, since different types of gutter guards do better with certain types of debris.
- Protect pipes from freezing by installing pipe insulation on exposed pipes in crawl spaces and attics and opening cabinet and closet doors so heat can reach exposed plumbing. For added protection, turn faucets to a slow drip to prevent freezing, and keep your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees, even if no one is home.
- Know your roof’s load-bearing capacity. If snowfall exceeds it, use a roof rake rather than climbing on the roof. Keep in mind that aging roofs may not have the same load-bearing capacity as when they were new. If your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, schedule a roof inspection before winter. Even if a blizzard doesn’t hit, roof repairs will improve your home’s value if you decide to sell in the future. Redfin notes that on average, repairing a roof nets homeowners $2,800 more than selling as-is.
Flooding can happen suddenly, which means you might not have much time to prepare when rising waters are headed your way. That’s why it’s important to think about flood prevention before a crisis strikes.
- Buy flood insurance. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, but homeowners in at-risk areas can purchase a separate flood insurance
- Assess your property’s slope. If water collects around the house rather than flowing away, address grading issues with a landscaper. Improvenet notes you can expect to pay between $1,059 and $1,716 for regrading your lawn.
- Hire a plumber to install backflow valves on plumbing fixtures that connect to sewer lines and a battery-operated sump pump in the basement.
- Elevate appliances like air conditioning units and water heaters above predicted flood levels. FEMA has more information on how to do this, but expect to need the services of an electrician and/or plumber.
Heatwaves can be deadly. It’s recommended to stay indoors in the air conditioning when a heatwave is forecasted, but if your air conditioning can’t handle the added burden, you could end up in a dangerous situation. These preparatory steps will keep you safe in a heatwave:
- Inspect indoor and outdoor air conditioning units, ensuring the area around the unit is free of debris, condenser coils are clean, and there are no leaks. If you notice issues, schedule servicing before temperatures spike.
- Check window air conditioning units to ensure they’re installed snugly and well-insulated.
- Install a clean HVAC air filter to maximize efficiency.
- Cover sunny windows with opaque drapes or shades. Sheets of cardboard covered in aluminum foil may also be used to reflect sunlight away from the house.
- Check the home for drafts and add weatherstripping as needed.
Don’t wait until extreme weather is headed your way to start thinking about your home. The sooner you start preparing for extreme weather events, the more protected you’ll be when a storm strikes. While you may spend money getting your home weather-ready, you’ll be glad you made the investment when your home is spared from the worst of weather damage.